But seriously... 13 things I'd do if I had the tits to be Boris Johnson's new press spokesperson

Even with lockdown weight gain, my cleavage is just not good enough to catch the Prime Minister's eye.

The unveiling of Boris Johnson’s new press spokesperson, who will undertake on-camera briefings daily, is getting ever nearer. It seems most people watching this story believe it’ll be Allegra Stratton, ex-BBC, ex-ITV, now Rishi Sunak’s head of strategic communications (aka bullshit weaver), but we’re meant to pretend it’s a mystery.

Thinking about how the government will use the daily briefings and how Keir Starmer’s forthcoming monthly on-camera briefings (designed to mimic the approach taken by David Cameron in opposition because Keith’s heroes are Tories, apparently), I’ve been thinking about what strategy I would advise the government to take if I actually wanted it to succeed rather than my real feelings which [REDACTED].

Context note: I have delivered media training for a wide range of companies and high-profile individuals, with my style being best described as “beating them up verbally so they don’t f*ck it up on television”.

Here goes:

  1. I’d look to shift the notion that questions aren’t answered properly. Make a few ‘honest’ answers happen in the first few briefings. Encourage the spokesperson to seem human and candid.

  2. Put the PM on camera more often and don’t rely on second or third-stringers like Matt Hancock or Grant Shapps.

  3. Give a ‘hostile’ outlet the first question and NOT, I repeat, NOT Laura Kuenssberg despite your desire to open up with a soft-ball, slobbering love-fest question.

  4. Stick with the briefings for at least a year. Do not look like you can’t hack it.

  5. Do not let Dominic Cummings decide the tone or content of the lines to take.

  6. Steer away from the culture war shit in the briefings. Leave that as the preserve of out-riders like Diddy Darren Grimes.

  7. Don’t heavily pre-brief stuff before the press conferences. Make them seem interesting by actually allowing news to be broken at them.

  8. Do allow follow-ups. Don’t try to shut down critical lines of questioning.

  9. Make sure the spokesperson is well-briefed and can answer questions without too many “I’ll get back to you” responses.

  10. Don’t make it presidential. Be ready to field-specific ministers when required.

  11. Clip difficult moments as well as ones where the spokesperson is smooth.

  12. Don’t use the briefings as an excuse not to put up ministers for other shows. Actually start engaging other shows more so you can claim to be on a transparency crusade while engaging in all sorts of corruption behind the scenes.

  13. REMEMBER you are not on The West Wing.

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